tv World War II and the Pacific CSPAN November 16, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm EST
sunday december 1st on "in depth" your questions for christina hoff some somers. and join mark levin on january 5th. book tv "in depth" the first sunday of every month on c-span2. next on american history tv, we hear from two world war ii veterans about their experience in the pacific theater who both fought in the battle of iwajima. they both spoke in washington, d.c. this is about an hour. hello, good morning, everybody, and thank you all for being here. i am honored to be given this opportunity to introduce these fine gentlemen and be among these great military war heroes. first i would like to introduce mr. donald mates, a marine corps
veteran of guam and iwajima. during the battle of iwajima, he and his eight-man patrol team came across heavy assault from the japanese and unfortunately his close friend and platoon mate was killed. during the attack, mr. mayes was wounded and has undergone numerous procedures for more than 30 years. but through this all, he has still found time to help the american veterans committee and the world war ii veterans committee start the james trumble iii scholarship in honor of his fallen friend. and most recently mr. mayes won the hero award recipient. next i would like to introduce mr. frank hall who served as the corporal in the united states
marine corps throughout the pacific campaign of world war ii. enlisted in 1942, he went on to serve in guam in the solomon islands and the epic battle of iwo jima. without further adieu, mr. donald mayes and frank hall. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. i would like some of our predecessors here went to school. i went to eight weeks of boot camp and came out at week eight as a corporal. it took me two years to make corporal. anyway, i was going to give you a tour of the pacific on how we got to iwo jima, but we're going to leave time for questions. i have to know what you want to know rather than me tell you something maybe you already know, i don't know. so i'm just going to start off
wi with, first of all, let me tell you this. my outlook of the third division was sent to new zealand for three or four months. we had a great time and met a family that i still think of at this day. and one thing in new zealand i'm going to tell you about because it relates to later on. one of the things we did was go on night hikes in single file through the cow pastures, making believe we held the japanese who might land on the coast. and every time we get to a gate, our captain barrett, would turn around and say, pass the word, last man close the gate. by the time this was whispered through 200 men, you can just imagine what came out at the end. but that was sort of a pass word we always used as a gag from there on in. so, anyway, later on we fought in bogenville.
that was not really a bloody battle, but it was very scary. and i spent eight weeks as a first scout on patrol every day. we would take a five-man patrol out and just make sure the japanese kept -- the whole idea was to set up a perimeter, i would say has been ten miles deep and a semicircle to the beach, in a swamp where the japanese didn't expect us to go, and we miraculously built a flight strip where we were flying out of and a strip in the swamps in six weeks. anyway, that was my job there for -- so the casualties weren't bad and i never got shot there. then we went to learn how to dig fox holes all over again. and went to guam. you think of storm landings, which are really pretty
hazardous, and a lot of marines went for the storm landings, and we did at guam. so you would think that we were all tensed up, but i thought i might explain to you how my experience went on this particular landing. we climbed down the cargo net, and one guy had stole an box of cigars. everyone would smoke a cigar. and i had stolen a gallon of orange juice, so we opened up the orange juice and were drinking orange juice and smoking cigars. and kind of relaxed, although, i'm not saying we are at a party mood, believe me, but we got to the reef and transferred into alligators, which is an amphibious tank, and as we were approaching shore, the one next to us blew up. a japanese mortar blew everybody up and it was kind a glorious sight. that straightened us out a bit
as far as being lighthearted. and as the thing climbed up ashore, the first guy hollered back, last man close the gate. so we were kind of -- you wouldn't believe it, but we were all laughing. we are getting shot at with bullets all over the place, and here we land laughing. so that was our storm landing. now the one on iwo jima, we fought in guam for five months. the battle was six weeks. and then they declared the island concurred, safe, whatever, secular. and for four months every day we patrolled to 10,000 japanese. after the island was secured, every day we went out. so it wasn't fierce, like on bogenville, but it was like deer hunting, although the deer were shooting back sometimes. that was a little problem. now i'll tell you the landing on
iwo jima. we were in a third division course and we were the reserve for the fourth and fifth division. they landed on february 19th on d-day and they had some storm landing, let me tell you. but we arrived that day, but what we were supposed to reserve, and they say, oh, it's a piece of cake, they'll be done with it in a few days and you won't have to go in. day two, the next day, they say, grab your gear, we have to go down the cargo nets and get to the post. then they were circling around all day. the waves were four or five feet high, so in a boat, a lot of guys got seasick. and we spent eight or nine hours on this and they returnedtous the ship because there was no room on the beach with all of the wreckage from the terrible stuff that was going on. so we had, with all our cargo, all our gear on and everything, my weight was less than i weigh
now, by the way. but we had to climb back up the cargo net. the next morning we are in the higgins boats again and spent all day again and timely at 4:00 or so in the afternoon, we landed. and we weren't a very heavy flyer, but not very much at that time. but the guys, the first day, the fourth and fifth landed, theyed a 2,000 casualties by the first afternoon. and the fifth division cut across the island, they were on the left right at the foot, and the fourth division turned right and went up. so by the time we got there, they were already up to the first airfield. we are trying to project a map here, but so far they haven't had any luck. i was going to show you a little battle map of the island and the progress that was made and so forth because what made it interesting to me is the first few days we made a lot of ground and the gift division captured and put up a flag by day five, i
believe it was, so things were progressing, but to get north on the island, my outfit was on the edge of what they call airport number two for about five to six days. now, i had left and i'll tell you about me leaving, but it took them another, oh, i think it was probably two weeks to take that. and so they got up three quarters of the distance of the island, all three divisions in sort of a skirmish line, and vantaged all kinds of obstacles. from the 14th day to about the 29th day, just, i think, two weeks, they were about -- they gained maybe 400 yards. and one of the reasons was they were exhausted because they had been -- i forgot to mention, every piece of the land on iwo jima was already zeroed in by the japanese artillery.
and they had much more on the northern end of the island, so wherever we went, they just called out cabin number three, number two, wherever, and that would hit you where you were. our troops and marines were absolutely exhausted. the japanese were exhausted running out of water. and they were really coming out at night trying to sneak water and food from the guys. so now comes the contention. i've been mad at general smith ever since, because we had the third division had one regiment onboard ship, trained and been in battle twice before with the rest of us, and he wouldn't let them go ashore. i have always believed that if he let that troop that trained of 3,000 men of being fresh, slept and eaten, they could have finished off the island pretty quick. but he wouldn't do that. he wanted to use them as
replacements. some of my friends in the other division, i was off the island, but i'll tell you about that in a minute, some of my friends told me that guys were coming in from bootcamp. they had never been in any kind of training except boot camp. and were taught how to fire a rifle off the stern of the ship coming across the ocean. and these guys were like a revolving door. the old-timers on the island didn't want anything to do with them because they would attract, not knowing what to do, they would attract like a magnet all the japanese snipers and so forth. so it was a revolving door. these poor replacements were being killed no sooner on the island than being killed. one of my friends met this guy that came and said, you won't believe it, but on such and such a day, which was like three weeks before, i was in grand central station in new york, and i was drafted. and they put me on a ship, took me through the panama canal, and here i am.
they taught me how to hold a rifle on the ship and learn how to fire it off the kilt of the ship. so my contention is why i was mad at the general. i don't know why he was doing that. he was probably saving the third regiment for another operation nearby, i have no idea, but the marine corps itself has been arcing about that for the last 50 to 60 years as to why he didn't do that. but i think it would have saved us. we lost about 2,000 more guys in that last couple of weeks, very tough. now, what happened to me, was we landed late in the afternoon and stayed on the beach until dark. and then we went across the first airfield and snuck in along the secondary field preparing to go on a charge the next day to try and do what we could with the secondary field. and the fourth division was on our right. and the fifth was on our left. but we were doing the attacking. and the next morning we wake up
and have a big artillery mirage that goes on for 10 or the 15 minutes. then we make it a yard that the artillery was so great from the japanese that we had to take guard immediately. my friend got shot and that disturbed me. and i jumped in a hole, which i thought originally was a well. then it occurred to me, there's no water here, but i didn't worry about it at the time. it had a solid bottom. later i'll tell you, it had dawned on me after we were on the island, that that was one of these entrances to the tunnels. the japanese had built tunnels, miles of tunnels all connecting all the different caves and a place where the cannons were and the whole works. and we had no idea. we didn't even see any japanese, some of us, some did, but we
didn't see any because they were hiding below. and it occurred to me that i had been in the hole at night, they would have opened the trap door and that would have been the end of me because i would have been completely surprised and they weren't. anyway, so i'm sitting in this hole and think this is great because i was very well protected. i'm looking around and watching everything. and some guy comes up behind me in a truck a little bigger than a jeep, some of you guys would know, and he says, watch this. there's a little hill there between him and the japanese. they didn't see him, but it was like from me to the corner, 10 or 20 yards, and i'm watching and he fires off rockets, which i had never seen before. i don't know, 40 or 50 rockets, he brushes off his hands and says, well, so long and turns his truck around and leaves. well, let me tell you, the japanese probably figured that we had put in an artillery unit
there because for at least six hours we had more incoming than you can believe. i mean, i never heard or saw anything on that. and on guam we had plenty, but this was terrible. so final ly i was tingling all over, like when your foot goes to sleep and it wakes up and your foot has that funny feeling. well, i was that way all over, so i asked my sergeant, i said, i told him about it and he says, go to the corpsman. and the corpsman said, go to the beach. so another fella and i walked down to the beach. they were shooting at us from a distance, but we didn't worry too much about that. and they took me aboard ship. and then gave me a shot of something, i guess, to relax me, but the next day, i think it was the next day or two days later, i'm on a rail on a ship just watching, and there were tanks with flame throwers going after a cave in one place and a bunch
of guys running somewhere else. then i look back and there's a flag. and i said, those guys, everybody was celebrating, all the ships were blowing whistles and horns. and i'm looking, those guys are crazy, they are going to get killed. so that was my reaction to that. and they lined us all up and called off 20 names of guys who could be back in action, they thought. so they got us onto a lifeboat, so we started to go down and the captain hollers, avast! what's happening with taking these men ashore? he says, no, you're too late. we have to get out of here by sundown. we have to get going with the wounded onboard. that was the end of the war and iwo jima for me. i was sent to a hospital for six months with what we call combat
fatigue. i always felt there was nothing wrong with me whatsoever, but they kept me six months, you see. for 60 years or so, i've been feeling guilty about leaving that island and all my friends. and i thought they were all dead until we got together 60 years later. but i ran into one marine who had been a minister who became a minister, and he was telling a story about him talking to another guy who said the same thing as me, feeling very guilty about walking away from that island, and i said, you believe in god? and he says, oh, yeah. he says, well, you're here because god wants you to be here, or he would have taken you on that island. so i felt a little better since then. is it lunchtime or do you want some questions? >> we are going to take some q&a. we appreciate very much what you said, ladies and gentlemen. i want to draw your attention to the fact that when don mates
mentioned jerry trumble, the young baseball player that left a promising career in the majors to enlist in the marine corps, that our president of the american veterans center, jim roberts, has written a rather lengthy article about jimmy trumble. we invite you to go to the espn website, google no legacy, excuse me, the legacy of jimmy trumble on espn. you'll find a lot more detail on this amazing story. so with that said, we're happy to take some questions from the audience. any questions for him? there we go. frank, stand up and speak up. >> i can't hear you. >> what was the most rewarding aspect of your military service?
>> the morning after -- >> rewarding aspect of your military service. what is the high point of your military service? >> oh. the high point -- as far as combat went, it was very satisfactory on guam where i managed to kill a few japanese. in fact, whenever i went on patrol, i used a b.a.r. a scout was supposed to use something else, but i didn't want to be out front by mist. i would pick up a b.a.r. from some guy who didn't need it anymore. and i woke up the first morning on guam with some guys on top of a hill in front of me, one had his hands on his hips, and i wasn't sure he was a marine or a japanese until i saw the hat and so forth. so i picked him off -- i thought it was an automatic but it was on semiautomatic.
and i happened to shoot him where i wanted to and it happened to be a tracer. that was the high point for me, believe it or not, killing somebody. >> thank you, sir. >> my name is donald mates. and i want you to know that i was a p.f.c. you're not talking to a colonel or a ranking officer. 61 years ago at john a. high school in cleveland, ohio, a marine recruiter came. and he said to me, you'll be drafted when you hit 18. why not join the marines instead of ending up in the army or the navy. and the first thing i asked him was, will i get that dress blue uniform? and he said, well, we just issue them to embassy, guards, sea-going marines, band members
and the drum and bugle corps. and i said, well, i don't play an instrument, and i get seasick. is it possible i could become an embassy guard? and he said, well, you got a good chance, you're 6'2", you're in shape, he said that i'll put that down for your first choice, embassy guard. and he said, where would you like to go? and we had been studying geography, and i knew portugal was neutral during the war and they had two colonies, one in india called goa and one in china called mccow. and i knew that mccow had gambling, so i said my first choice is mccow. my second choice is goa. by the way, when will i get the red stripe down the light blue pants? he says, oh, when you graduate
from embassy school you'll become a corporal automatically. well, i want you to know to this day i'm looking for that recruiter. i went to boot camp for 12 weeks. and in boot camp we had two celebrities. one was jimmy trumble and another was william manchester. the famous biographer. and our boot camp was 12 weeks on paris island. and it was rough. but we got through it. and when it came to assignments, i was assigned to a very high-sounding name. combat intelligence school. so was jimmy trumble and so was william manchester. and we were sent to camp lejeune. and camp lejeune combat
intelligent school is nothing but scout observer. and we were taught rubber boat recognizance, which we never did. night patrolling, which we did and was horrendous, map reading, they taught us a little japanese which was useless, aerial photograph reading, which we never did, demolition, which we did, how to run a 360 or a 500 radio, we worked on our bayonet, we worked on the range with the b.a.r. and the m-1. the jimmy trumble came from washington, d.c. right here. and he went to st. albany school. and he was an outstanding pitcher. and clark griffin who owned the washington senators at the time,
gave him a $5,000 signing bonus. now that was in 1943. now that's 7years ago. 70 years ago. now you can imagine what that would be worth today. i have no idea what $5,000 is. and rather than send him to a farm team, he sent him to duke. he sent him there for his education so he could pitch for duke. instead of pitching for duke, he ended up joining the marines. and that's how we all got together. after we got through with the combat intelligence school, manchester was sent to the west coast to the sixth division. and jim and i and rodney harm and shorty fulfert, we were sent as replacements to the third division, which were getting ready for the invasion of guam.
but we went by the way of boat from norfolk. we went from norfolk to cuba. great liberty town. we went from cuba to the panama canal. it wasn't a holland american cruise, but we could sleep on deck, could eat any time we want, and the navy treated us royally. from panama we went to hawaii, and i thought, my god, i'm really seeing the world here. this is just marvelous. in the meantime, the third division had invaded guam. and jimmy and i, rodney harm and shorty fulfert were sent by aircraft carrier as replacements to guam. and when i say aircraft carrier, i mean a baby aircraft carrier. not the huge aircraft carriers we have today. we joined the third recogniza e
recognizance. the general wanted direct reports from the field, so we took the fourth platoon from the third recognizance company and made him, made it his personal guard. and we would report to him directly. when he wanted some information that was happening in the field, he would send us out and we would report back to him. it wouldn't go through the chain of command. he wanted it direct. but the swiss guard was to the pope or is to the pope, we were
to the general. and general erskin was a baseball nut. and after we took the island of guam, which i didn't do much on, i did some patrolling and set up some ambushes, but i was just a replacement carrying messages, so i didn't quite understand what combat was all about like frank or blackie as we called him. on iwo, because trimble was a pitcher for the third marine version and the six marine corps, the six divisions in a world series, and erskin was a baseball nut and wanted to win the series. and sure enough, jimmy trimble, if you're at the dipper dinner
saturday night, you'll see motion pictures of him pitching in this series. low and behold, he was the outstanding pitcher in the third marine version and they did win the world series making trimble a favorite of the general. and i was trimble's buddy, so i tagged along for the good times that came with it. when we landed on iwo, frank touched on it. frank didn't make it ashore on the 20th because of the clutter that there was, but our platoon was sent ashore on the 20th. and we did get ashore. and our reason was to set up erskin's sleep quarters. but when we got ashore on the 20th, the fifth division had
just about cut across the island. we ended up fighting with the 77th regiment. and we didn't get a chance to quite look for the c.p. in the headquarters. but i never saw anything like it when i landed. there was broken equipment, there was bodies all over the place, they hadn't yet buried anybody, either the japanese or the american marines. there were bodies without arms, without heads, completely e vicarated, and there's a smell that you never get over. to this day, when i drive by a cemetery, especially if they are using recycled water, i really think i can smell the dead bodies. on iwo they had the japanese
spigot mortars. and the mortars were a little bigger than this lectern. a little bigger than a 45-gallon oil drum. and it's 168 meters. and it weighed 675 pounds. and the japanese would send these mortars, they would set them up on railway ties and they were rocket-propelled. and at night you could see them coming. in the daytime you could see them coming. at night you could see the propellant from the rocket. after the rocket burned out, the mortar would tumble. and you could see it coming. and if anybody's ever watched old cartoons, there used to be a cartoon years ago called "the
road runner." and he would be in the middle of the road and look up and see a piano going to fall on him. or he'd be in the middle of the road and a truck would run him over. and that's how you felt when you saw one of these spigot mortars coming at you. there wasn't much shrapnel, but it blew a whole almost the size of this room. and the concussion was just enormous. fellas were bleeding from the eyes, the ears, from the nose, from the spigot mortar. and one landed near general erskin. and he wanted to know where it came from. well, you could spot them better at night because of the propellant that showed. you could see the sparks. so lieutenant stack, our lieutenant for our platoon, our company commander oscar selgo,
our first sergeant mccarthy, they got eight of us together and they told us that we had to go out and find out where these spigot mortars were coming from so they could get rid of them. well, there were eight of us that went on patrol. and i'll never forget them. there was joe mccluskey, wayne garrett, he was the old man, he was 24 years old with two children. he had two years of college. and after this campaign, he was going back to ocs. there was myself, jimmy trimble, orville mitzle, jim white and lee planchard who stayed in the marine corps to become a kernel. and we were sent out to look for the spigot mortars.
we were sent out at night because they were easy to see. and we went to hill 362 and 382. now, the elevation, the hills and the ridges had numbers. and that was the elevation above sea. so we went up to this ridge. remember, we could look out over the japanese field and see if we could spot the spigot mortars. well, about midnight, you never saw the japanese during the day. they were night fighters. we called them roving wolves. kirabashi was the japanese general. and he would send them out at nig night to kill us, to get water, to get food, to try to get some
of our equipment. i've been criticized in the past, but i'm going to tell you that the japanese were first-class fighters. in a second-class army with third-class equipment. they would rather die or commit suicide than be captured. although we did capture 200 of them. the -- the big picture to the grunt on the ground is the fox hole that he's in. it's what he sees. it's the rocks in front of him. it's the ash in front of us. in front of us was an open pit sulfur mine.
and when the shell would land in it, it would ignite and these fumes would come up. and years ago there was a movie called "the hound of baskervilles." i don't know if it was ever remade, but on the moores there was this fog. a then the movie had coming out of the fog a huge hound that would come and attack you. well, that's how i felt on iwo jima. the sulfur and the star shell flares that go off, you would see the japanese coming at you through these fumes. there's one thing that a japanese had. they had on the back of their neck a little phosphorous bubble. and we were set up, and as they came to attack us, i couldn't see the button.
but there are officers behind them that just needed a little starlight, and you could see the phosphorous put tops. and he would call out, you could hear him, to the left or to the right or stop, drop to the ground, don't go any further, move ahead. you knew you were in trouble that when you turned around and you could see the phosphorous buttons, then i knew that we were in big trouble. in boot camp you're scared of the d.i. when you're going into combat, you're afraid. but when you're in actual combat, the most fearsome thing in the world, it's -- you have to be well-trained, you have to have your whits about you, and you cannot panic. if you run, if you flee, you're
dead as a doornail. we had a tremendous hand-to-hand combat that went on from midnight to about 2:30 in the morning. and when it happened, mcclusky, joe mcclusky, we never did find his body. corporal reid stationed in puerto rico, he was killed. orville nitzle was wounded and died of the wounds. lee planchard, he died of a service connected disability. jim white just recently passed away of natural death. blanchard was quite a hero in my eyes. so was jim white. when trimble and i were in the
same foxhole, the japanese got close enough to bayonet him. he didn't say a word. the only thing i heard from him was grenades. the japanese grenade, to ignite it, you have to hit it against something. they don't have a pin and a flare. so it would take two grenades, they would hit them together and throw them, lava. and they took two grenades, hit them together and trimble heard it, i didn't, and he hollered grenades. he was sitting up and i was laying prone. one grenade landed between my legs and one grenade landed behind trimble. and he took the full blast of the grenade. and they were japanese grenades. thank god they weren't ours. besides the bayonet wound, his back was peppered.
i looked down at my crotch and i couldn't believe what i saw. both my legs were broken, and i was bleeding profusely. at the same time, a japanese jumped into the pit. he had on a mine, a mine looked like a first base man's bag, you know, baseball bag. if you go to the museum, you'll see it. they call it grenade 90, the japanese called them grenade 90, and there's one on exhibit there. and it had four magnets in each corner. and that was to put on the tank and try to blow a hole into the tank. well, this soldier had it wrapped to his body and he wrapped himself around trimble, pulled the cord, and the japanese -- it blew out. the japanese just evacuated and
trimble was cut in half. blanchard and white came and got me. they dragged me into their hole. and it was about quarter to 4:00 in the morning. and they put turnakits on me, and we got help from the 21st marines and some marines from the fifth division came over from our left and they helped us. and you prayed for daylight because when it was daylight the japanese would disappear back into their holes. well, what happened to me was at 5:00 a corpsman came along and gave me morphine. i can truly understand how someone becomes a heroin addict, because that morphine is just marvelous. it gives you a warm glow and
takes away the pain. they took me to a medivac unit tent, and i stay there had for 24 hours until they got me. then they took me to the beach, put me on a troop transport, and gave me a big shot of penicillin. and it turned out i was allergic to penicillin. and i went into a coma and i woke up in an army hospital in saipen. the army hospital in saipen, i went to hawaii, oahu heights hospital. and from there i went to sun valley, idaho, for rehabilitation and then a marine hospital in cleveland, ohio. and there is no such thing as a marine hospital. this was a merchant marine hospital. and i recuperated there.
because i was allergic to penicillin and had gang green on my legs, and my legs were broken, for three months i lived on a wheel. to keep the bed sores off me. and in those days their idea of therapy was a hot tub and a back rub with jergens lotion. people asked me would i do it over again, and i say, yes, i would. would i let my son do it? no. absolutely not. there's another question they invariably ask, and i answer it this way. i have three children. i have seven granddaughters. i have one great-granddaughter.
they are all naturally born. there are no sperm donors. there's no artificial insemination. all that problem i had with the hand grenade was taken care of by the navy. [ applause ] >> every name that i mentioned outside of blackie, and every name that i give in the story, which i cut short, is dead. there's nobody alive. just two of them died of natural causes. the rest of them were all killed on iwo or killed after by their wounds.
i spent ten days on iwo jima, and there isn't one day that goes by that i don't think of it. thank you. [ applause ] >> are there any questions? we got a few minutes. young lady. >> do you have a book that you think every library should have that's your favorite to tell about marine experiences? >> well, he's written one. >> he's written one? >> excellent. you'll read in there things i told you. >> and i have a question, did you ever return to iwo? >> yes. what happened on iwo, and this bothers me to this day, and i'm just sort of sorry you asked the question, but while we were
engaged in this battle, the japanese soldier was crawling towards me. and he had, i thought it was a stick of dynamite, or a plastic that was brown. of course, i blew him away when he got within three feet of them. i just shot him. and i reached over and took what he had in his hand, and it turned out to be a mahogany box, it looked like a pencil box. it was beautiful wood. and i opened it, and inside was a set of ivory chopsticks and a gold buddah. was he going to stab me to death
with the chop sticks? i don't know, but i thought he was surrendering and i never gave him the chance. i kept that souvenir in my desk drawer for 50 years. and when they went back to iwo jima, they asked if you had any memorabilia to bring it and we'll turn it over to the japanese and the japanese in turn would turn it over to us. well, i brought that along. and on there was the fella's name and the town that he came from. the town was hot springs. there is hot springs in japan. well, nobody was there, but who took the souvenir was the iwo jima association. and they have a museum. and those chopsticks are in the museum. but that still bothers me. and another side effect was the
japanese were also souvenir collectors. and what they loved to collect were class rings. and they loved to get rings from annapolis navy men that had become marines. and they also collected zippo lighters that were personalized. a zippo cigarette light we are the marines that had their names on them and emblems and certain attachments. and that's what they returned, especially those with names and the class rings that were engraved on the inside. so -- i did have some closure, but that one, that one little problem still bothers me. any other questions? here we go. another lady. >> were all the deaths and the
craziness going around you during the war, how did you cope with that coming home? how do you deal with that every day? >> well, i got to tell you that the department of defense took very good care of us. first we had psychiatrists talk to us. number two, you got to remember we were so well trained. i never ran into what frank ran into, but the fellow was at grand central station and ended up on iwo three days later. i had 12 weeks of boot camp, i had six weeks of of training and combat and intelligence school. and then we trained on guam. and don't forget, we were young and we were brainwashed. and i personally, outside of that one incident that i still
think of today, you know, i turned into a man overnight. nothing bothered me. to this day i'm not afraid to take a chance, whether it's in a stock option or at the crap tables. [ applause ] >> i was wondering -- >> how did i what? >> how did you not panic during combat? >> oh, first of all, you're trained not to panic. you either fight or flee. and i saw nobody flee. it's either you or them. it's one-on-one. as i said, you're scared of your drill instructor. you're afraid going into combat. but you're absolutely -- you
have to be fearless in hand-to-hand combat. and we were well trained. and we just handled it. anybody. ever. >> more questions? sir. >> this can go for either one of you. in your experience, what makes you a great combat leader? you've experienced some of the greatest battles. what did you observe that inspired you to keep pushing forward and do your job to the extent that you did? >> well, first thing, to be a great combat leader, you have to be able to send men to their death. and you have to be able to get over that. you know when you send them into battle, they're going to die. the second thing is, the man that you respect is the
toughest, straightest, honest officer that you can find. they always level with you. they tell you the truth. and they don't put their nose up in the air. and they'll ask you your advice, too. that's what i -- that's what i looked for and found in the marine corps officers. especially our lieutenant stack and our captain sellgo. frank has something he wants to say. frank? >> yes. i just want to mention that when we appreciate landing on iwo jima, two days before the landing, ten lcis would show up, and, in fact, what they were used for, rocket ships. and they were firing rockets to soften up the island. and is some of the japanese thought that was the invasion and opened up with their cannons, and the destroyers took
care of them. but these are the guys that preceded today's -- the guys who showed up in the lcis, they had under water munition guys with them who went in and cleared the water underneath, so that we could survive going in. and now i was thinking about this and i heard a rumor the other day. it's just a rumor. it may not be true. but a lot of rumors happen to turn out true about what's going on with the military. so i just wanted to know, the rumor i heard was that the navy s.e.a.l.s, who i respect very much, were told to take the rattlesnake out of their emblem, you see. now, this is what i heard. so just to honor them, i just want to point out that i brought them a rattlesnake.
just in honor of the s.e.a.l.s. >> frank, we got -- we've got a couple minutes. >> yes, i do have a few things to say. there's been a lot of controversy since the invasion as to whether it was worthwhile having 26,000 marines injured, 5,000 killed, and so forth. there's a lot of bad statistics about the island. and if you heard some of the reasons why. one of the results that you don't hear much about is when they started -- when they first got b-29s available to them, the wrong-range bombers, most of the marines have never seen them, they were using them from china as a base in china to try to bomb japan. well, it didn't work out too
well, because they were flying at their maximum of 30,000 feet, so that they couldn't be shot down. and what they didn't know, the japanese knew there was a jet stream. we didn't know about that in those days. so the bombs were very inaccurate. they got about 2% accuracy on hitting targets in japan. and they moved them to the mariannas for other reasons, because they had problems in china getting across and so forth. and they also put -- a guy by the name -- who i really appreciate, general curtis lamay. you guys in the army might have heard of him, certainly. and he was a pretty tough guy. and he told them they were going to go down to 4,000 feet, and they were going to take the armaments off the b-29s. when they were fully equipped, they couldn't be shot down by japanese. but when they took away the armaments, of course, they were very vulnerable. and incidentally, they had a lot of trouble with the b-29, even
until after the war. you talk about the osprey having trouble getting the bugs out. well, the b-29s had more bugs than the osprey. and you guys in the military probably heard about that by now. all right. so now -- now, they cleared the air field so the bombers could land there by about march 5th, 6th, something. something in there. so in other words, no more -- one of the reasons they took iwo jima, one of the big reasons, they would come from the mariannas, saipan and guam, and fly 1,000 miles but had to go over iwo jima to get to tokyo. so iwo jima would forewarn them by radar and they also had pursuit planes there that could shoot down the injured b-29s when they were returning. in fact, it got so bad that a friend of mine by the name of general randall who was there, he told me that they had submarines almost every 50 miles
between tokyo and saipan to pick up the fliers that were being shot down. so it was a very serious thing. but on march -- i've got the date here. on march 10th, lamay ordered a bombing raid on tokyo. and they -- and they killed -- let's see. 100,000 people. they dropped 1,600 tons of bombs. and -- killed 100,000 people. and destroyed 250,000 buildings. so i assume that was part of the side effects they could mount this attack. now, the reason they would -- they burned down tokyo that time was because the japanese had diffused their manufacturing, and people were building things in their homes. so practically all the homes were manufacturing things. but, you know, today i see marines getting court martial because they shoot a civilian by accident. and here we killed 500,000
japanese between march and the end of the war in august. and the japanese are not mad -- they may be annoyed. but we're not worried about the japanese. what we're worried about, somebody else in the world, because we killed one civilian. that really boggles my mind. so let's see. have i got anymore -- 16 square miles in the city. all right. well, that was the point. they make a big fuss over the atom bomb being dropped. which ended the war, and all the veterans were thankful. i don't know of any that weren't. and as i say, they killed with fire bombs 100,000 in one night in tokyo. the atom bomb wasn't even involved. but nobody says anything about that. okay? >> gentlemen, i can't thank you enough. we greatly appreciate your
service. we're honored to be with you here today, and have you share your stories with us. ladies and gentlemen, lunch will be served very shortly. i apologize for getting mixed up but on the jimmy trimble thing, really, if you get a chance, go to the he is opinion website, look up that jimmy trimble story. i think you'll really, really enjoy it. again, gentlemen, i'm honored to be here. enjoy some lunch. we'll see you in about an hour. this november 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of president kennedys assassination in dallas. join american history tv on november 23rd and 24th for eyewitness accounts of the events surrounding that fall day in 1963. we'll air footage of the kennedy funeral and president lyndon johnson's address to congress. watch ceremonies from dealey plaza in dallas and the jfk library in boston. and we'll take your phone calls. remembering jfk, 50 years after dallas.
here on american history tv on c-span 3. i started with teddy roosevelt. i knew so much had been written about teddy that i needed another story. i got into taft, knowing he had been friends, knowing they had broken apart in 1912. then when i figured out what was the difference between the two, and their leadership, it was teddy's public leadership, taft's failure as a public leader. so i started reading about the progressive era and the public and the magazine and the press. and these guys stood at the center of it. they played a signal role. even the best historians writing secondarily will say, these people were the vanguard of the progressive movement. so then i started reading about them. i knew about ida before, and william allen white. but i didn't know the others. and i didn't know mcclure so he came into my life. >> roosevelt taft, and the muck rakers, sunday night with the bully pulpit author, doris kearns goodwin, on c-span's q &
a. next on the whistle civil war, co director of the lincoln study center, 150 years ago. on november 19th, 1863. mr. wilson considers several facets of the address, including its context in the war in 1863. and how it would have sounded when delivered by president lincoln versus how it reads on paper. and how its meaning and interpretation have evolved over time. the lincoln group of the district of columbia hosted this event. it's about an hour and ten minutes. >> thank you very much. craig, it's a pleasure to be back here. i remember when i first made my brash entrance into the lincoln field, one of the first invitations i got was from this group. and i reme t